This page is dedicated to Dr Robert Love. Dr Love Was born and reared in Yellow Prairie (Chriesman). It is the “HISTORY” pages that you read that was created by him.
Dr Love is perhaps best known for helping craft a form of life insurance that covered home mortgage values, according to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
He was also an administrator and professor at the City College system of New York for more than four decades. He had retired from the school in 1969 at the age of 71 but continued working as a consultant to insurance and mutual fund firms until the 1980’s. Dr Love help create the concept of credit life insurance, which was eventually implemented to cover various consumer credit purchases and outstanding credit card balances.
Dr Love began his business career as a child selling road maps on credit. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1922 and a master’s degree in economics in 1924 from Columbia University.
Dr Love handled research for the City of New York and the National Democratic Committee and help launch and operate various mutual funds in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He authored seven books, including “How to Analyze Your Business” in 1938 and “Life Insurance and Mutual Funds” in 1968.
Nationally renowned economist and businessman, Robert A. Love died on Jan 5, 2001 at the age of 102 at his New York City home. Dr. Love was survived by his wife, Terry Delsito-Love and sister LaNelle Love Donaldson of Houston, Texas. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Helen Hitchcock Love,, who he met as a high school student in Texas. They were married for 56 years.
As more information becomes available, it will be entered on this page. If you have any information or pictures of Dr. Love, please e-mail them to us. (USE THE CONTACT US PAGE)
A LOOK BACK BY ROBERT A. LOVE ON OCTOBER 12,1986 AT THE DEDICATION CHRIESMAN IMPROVEMENT LEAGUE CENTER:
Thank you. Your generous compliments are about the nicest I have had since one I got from Uncle Joe 69 years ago when I told him I was leaving to go off to school. He simply shook his head and said “Too bad, we are losing a good cotton picker.”
I am sure all of us are proud of the progress made by both the Chriesman Improvement League and the Cemetery Association, and are grateful for what they have done.
I feel honored to be a participant in this dedication service. Some time ago in a visit with Joyce I spun some yarns of 1900 vintage. I guess Bernadette invited me because she couldn’t find any other 19th century fossil and concluded I was the last of a disappearing species.
Anyway, in today’s exercises dedicating the NEW, I have been asked to report the OLD.
If I make errors, please be tolerant. In general, I am relying on the memory tapes of a boy aged 2 to 12. Further, since I focus on the first decade of the 20th century, the tapes are more than three quarter of a century old.
Come to think of it, so am I! Bernadette said some material I have assembled on who lived here and where, might be interesting background information on our heritage. I have a problem! There’s too much material for the time available. I asked a friend who has shared speaking engagements with me and who has seen the materials. His advice: “Throw all material away and repeat the talk you gave in Detroit. It was the best speech I ever heard you make”.
I looked up the transcript, the complete presentation was: “As time slipped away I have cut my prepared forty-minute talk to twenty, to ten, to five minutes, then to seven seconds; you’ve just heard it.”
From your point of view, this might be a kind thing to do, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw my hoarded information in the wastebasket. I compromised. Details of families, where they lived and who married whom are in the printed brochure, “Early Settlers in Yellow Prairie and Hoskins Spring–Who They Were and Where They Lived”. It also shows some pictures, including schools, churches and places of business. You can take a copy for leisure reading.
Another problem appears in the temptation to wander down so many memory lanes that I wouldn’t get back until dark. To prevent this I’ll stick to my notes.
A ride here over familiar terrain yesterday brought nostalgic realization of change, revived quiet memories of people, surroundings and conditions no longer with us.
Today is Sunday. Roll back the calendar 80 years and join me for a day to visit what existed then and make comparisons with the present. It is morning and time for the Loves to leave for Sunday School. We have locked the corncrib, but left the house open. A wagon (not an automobile) loaded with my family, leaves the shade of oak trees now shaggy but still standing.
We leave our farm over a road now covered with full-grown trees. We lift a bailing wire loop to open a wire gap that has been replaced with a locked board gate.
Our wagon creaks across the heart of Yellow Prairie, passing houses that have since disappeared and cultivated fields now used only as pasture.
We arrive for Sunday School at the Methodist church located near the cemetery. The building is back on its foundation after being blown off its blocks by a cyclone in 1900. The church later got new California weatherboarding when a proposal to move the church to Chriesman was defeated. Modernization also appeared in the form of two privies. I remember them because I helped my Dad build them. The church site has been vacant since 1919 when the church was moved to Chriesman. Back to our visit.
After my Dad, the superintendent, dismisses Sunday School we drive north then west almost to Thompson Branch. We are at the vacant site of the first Yellow Prairie School. I attended the last closing exercises held there before the school was moved to Chriesman.
You will find an earlier picture in the brochure showing school people in front of the building. The tall man in the center of the picture is my Uncle Finis, who was then the teacher. To his left is Arthur Hill and then Henry Speckman. Lila Black Kornegay is in the front row. The picture is dim but you may recognize others.
As we know, the area of the school, church and cemetery was the center of the Yellow Prairie community until arrival of the railroad led to the development of Chriesman.
Grandma Love’s farm is next to the school site. We eat dinner at her house, built by my grandfather in 1867; but no longer standing.
Nearby on an adjoining farm is the house built by Alexander Thomson who was one of two first settlers of Yellow Prairie. Descendents Thad, Tom and Carrie were peers and close friends of Edwin, my oldest brother.
Upstream is the homesite of Johnston, the second of our two earliest settlers. The first site of the Johnston school is nearby. When I first visited there the schoolhouse had already been moved to Hoskins Spring and the Johnston residence had disappeared. But meet Johnston descendents: George, County Tax Assessor, and his brother Tom and Lige.
After dinner we walk to the depot to join others assembled to meet northbound #6 (which no longer runs).
On the way look to the right for what is now known as White’s Chapel (no longer serving as a segregated school but still used as a church).
The train has left so we pick our way around stacks of cordwood (no longer shipped from Chriesman). We reach open space and have a good view of Chriesman’s Business Center.
At the south is Mayson’s store. The dark brown building to the north with three hackberry trees in front is Chriesman’s largest store, it is owned by W. E. Matejowsky. (Later it will be owned by Charlie Matejowsky and John Speckman).
The store next door–Chriesman’s oldest–is operated by James Philp, Sr. assisted by Vernon Eanes, his son-in-law. (Later Tidwell and Arnold operated the store. After they ceased operations the building was used for Jesse Tabor’s meat market and then as a Post Office while Mrs. Eula Aiken was Post Mistress).
The two residences on Chriesman’s business street are the homes of Dr. McLean, last Chriesman doctor before Dr. Aiken’s arrival, and Uncle Mock Love who operated a blacksmith shop in his back yard. North is Edd Arnold’s store and then the old gin and corn mill.
After viewing businesses located on Chriesman’s only commercial street, we turn left past Uncle Mock Loves’s blacksmith shop and proceed to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Uncle Joe Love is the superintendent. I sit on the back seat in a class taught by Mary Gehrels (who soon married Fritz Speckman and moved to Tahoka).
Sunday school is over and there’s just time to meet southbound #5(also no longer running).
As we leave the church, note the two-story building at the south end of Chriesman’s West street. It houses Chriesman’s school in the two rooms on the first floor. The top floor is the Woodmen of the World Hall.
Except for White’s Chapel, not one of the Chriesman structures I have mentioned is here today, except for the Methodist church (moved to Chriesman in 1919) structures added after the first decade of the 20th century have also disappeared. These include the following:
A lumberyard (managed by Henry Speckman), built in 1912.
A brick bank building, built in 1914 on the site of the Dr. McLean home.
Three store buildings between the Philp and Edd Arnold stores. One built in 1914 accommodated my “Bob’s Cold Drinks” operation and Ed Brymer’s barber shop. Soon thereafter, Charlie Boedeker and then Frank Marek had stores on the street.
Also, not answering today’s roll call is a gin built on the site of this center by Simon Philp and later owned by Robert Cox.
The only disappearing act I witnessed was that of the old cotton gin. It was destroyed by fire under very dramatic circumstances.
A late season meant that cotton was still being ginned on the day before Christmas. Everybody was at the old Methodist church for the Christmas tree celebration when news of the fire reached us. We rushed on horseback, in buggies, in wagons and on foot trying to get there in time to put out the fire. We failed.
The old gin was owned by a man with such a melodious name that my (then) little sister, LaNelle named her doll for him. The doll still lives with her. Recently I asked her how to spell the man’s name. She said she didn’t know because her doll, Rundzieher, had never written to her and so she had never seen the name spelled out.
I can’t recall when the gin burned down. I asked my younger brother Joe Brown, who saw the flames and billowing smoke from the church but was too little to travel. He said he couldn’t remember.
This worries me. I shouldn’t unload anymore of my family problems on you. But do you think he’s becoming senile?
Fortunately the community was not without a gin. Simon Philp used the money left to him by a rich Dallas relative to build his modern gin on the site of the present Chriesman Improvement League Center and a house on the site of the old gin. He sold the gin to Robert Cox and the house to Leonard Kornegay.
HOW PEOPLE LIVED:
The brochure shows WHO lived here and WHERE they lived.
I now want to talk about HOW they lived. On my way down for this delightful occasion, it occurred to me that my airplane brought me 1600 miles from New York to Texas in about the same time we used to travel by wagon from Love’s hill to Caldwell. The time we spent driving here from Houston compared with wagon-time from our home to Chriesman and return.
These changes in transportation reflect the extent of differences between the world of today and the world I knew here.
In practically every area there have been changes equally as significant, even though not as easily measured. Especially in the post oak region of Hoskins Spring, we lived in the early 1900s under conditions that differed little from those prevailing in pioneer communities from colonial times. Hard work, privation and poverty prevailed.
Compare health conditions with the present. Houses were not screened against mosquitoes, malaria was commonplace and it was not known that typhoid came from drinking water.
I heard of people dying from cramps long before I knew about appendicitis operations and learned that freedom from cramp pains were symptoms of a burst appendix.
It was 1913 when I first heard of cancer.
It was 1914 before a state-sponsored project brought examinations and treatments for widespread hookworm.
There were doctors but they were not within easy reach. The doctor who welcomed my young brother to this world had to drive his buggy nine miles to reach his point of landing; and there was a nine-mile trip to ask him to come (no telephones).
I never heard of anyone who had ever been in a hospital except men who were hurt in railroad accidents and taken to the Santa Fe hospital in Temple. Noone ever visited a dentist.
Hoskins Spring School might run 2 or 3 months a year. Boys often stayed out to work; and some years there was no school. When I moved away at age 15, I had attended school a total of 11 months. At that age or younger most children stopped going to school.
Think of what was not even available in the first decade of the 20th century: autos, telephones, refrigerators, movies, radios, TVs and not even phonographs.
Imagine having to cook everything from scratch and make virtually everything you used.
Visualize the offerings of a supermarket and the displays on the several floors of a large department store. Contrast a present-day shopper with the earlier buyer leaving Matejowsky’s, carrying flour, sugar and green coffee–his complete purchases for the week.
The economy was basically subsistance farming. The family produced or made almost everything eaten or used.
Making a living on newly cleared post oak land was not easy. A farmer who fought stumps and crab grass on 15 to 20 acres of cotton was lucky if the Boll Weevil left him 2 or 3 bales that sold for $30 to $40 per bale.
He sold wood at $3 per cord and got $8 for a yearling.
A good price for eggs was 8 cents cash or 10 cents in trade.
Watermelons could be peddled in Caldwell at 5 cents each, but there were no buyers of other produce. Based on a promised market, we once cultivated several acres of tomatoes and sent a large first shipment on consignment. The payment came: 37 cents in stamps.
There was little opportunity to earn money other than that obtained from running a farm. A worker was paid for picking cotton and for cutting or hauling cordwood for someone else; but there was seldom pay for other farm work.
The railroad section gang offered the only available non-farm wage earning opportunity.
There was no pay for working on roads. Every man was obligated to contribute his time whenever the road foreman specified a day for road working.
Bear in mind that in the early 1900s, roads were no more than land set aside for use. They were not even graded. Gravel topping came in much later and Burleson County had no paved roads until the 1930s.
In 1914, local workers spread layers of red clay over the deep sand on the road to Caldwell near the Geick place and on the road north of Chriesman near the Eanes farm. The summer effort to improve roads was aborted by fall rains.
Debt and debt piled on debt was edemic to farming. Once when someone commented on how bad it was to go into debt my Dad quipped that coming out of debt was worse. He knew. Bad years left him with an obligation that was not met until 15 years later when it was paid with compound interest.
Even if the present array of goods and services had been available, early settlers did not have money to buy them.
Step up prices to yesterday’s quotes and proceeds from cotton output of the average post oak farm would not cover the outlays made by the lady living next door for visits to the beauty parlor and cosmetics. The Hoskins Spring lady’s only beauty aid was corn starch used for face powder.
Our forbears who came here from foreign countries as well as from places over the United States, undoubtedly found conditions here relatively attractive. But some of the early settlers and most of their descendents left. Only two of Grandma Love’s 31 grandchildren stayed here for a full lifetime. Why did so many people leave? I once heard Bernard Baruch comment at age 90 that he had not left sin. Sin had left him.
People left the way of life that brought them here because the mode of living changed everywhere. They left the farms from which they had wrested a living because their livelihood had left them. The small unmechanized farm became obsolete. Cotton and stumps became incompatible and gas took away the market for cordwood.
Subsistence farming went out of style as industry turned out a dazzling array of products and services; and employees could earn money to buy them. We have no reason to regret this change because neither cotton nor cordwood was the most important product shipped from Chriesman. By far the most valuable commodity exported was people; people whose character was forged in a pioneer crucible and who lived under conditions that induced them, whereever they might land, to be hard-working good neighbors concerned with the well-being of others.
I get pleasure in observing that you, who have continued to live here have been able to redirect the area’s resources and be financially successful. I am frank to say that I envy you and those of you who have returned to live here. You have a lifestyle that can hardly be duplicated elsewhere.
Survivors of the hard life of early times sired the generations from which in turn, were winnowed the people here today. We, whose roots are either impacted in the yellow clay of the prairie or buried in the red clay underlay of the post oaks have a wonderful heritage for which we are justifiably proud.
Settlers came. Descendents left. Why do we come back for a reunion? Beyond seeing the relatives and old friends, we want to visit with others who share the same heritage. We return for confirmation of relationships that existed when all shared the common task of confronting nature–combatting drought and floods, fighting weeds and pests. Memories of neighbors helping neighbors blot out pictures of individuals exploiting others. In this natural environment, we have a refreshing view of man’s inherent qualities.
I have attempted to turn around the lens of time and show you–as far as I can–what people were here, where they lived and something of what our forebears did in an irretrievable part of the American past.
You have been patient listeners.